Yes, running new business is exciting. The idea of success and the bountiful benefits which come with it are truly desirable. But, can anyone just do it? Can anyone who dives into this achieves success?
Recent report that 90% startup in USA fail is enough to scare away people from venturing into the entrepreneurial world. Apart from the distinct weaknesses in the technical department, what the article fail to realize is also the required mindset in order to achieve the difficulties and challenges of entrepreneurial world.
Having said that, here’s a list of weaknesses you need to get rid of in order to make the entrepreneurial journey less difficult:
1. Escape from your 9-5pm job
Majority of my clients began startup as a mean to escape from their 9-5pm job. I caution you if that is what you’re looking for. Starting your own business is just as difficult, if not more.
You are no longer just working at a company. You are running it which means every business activity needs to be at your fingertips. Your responsibility becomes broadened. You no longer check in and out at 5pm.
As an entrepreneur, your work continues making sure your budget is balanced. That you have enough money to pay salaries, rent and utility bills. You’ll begin to worry ‘what if’ you can’t afford to pay your employees end of the week if business not going well. You also need to consider your loan repayment and its interests (if you did take one).
Once done, only then you start thinking about getting your pay – unless you are a dishonest person, taking the share early leaving everyone else who worked for you ‘dry’. Something which I do not advocate and strongly condemns.
I’m hopeful that I did not scare you away with those rants, I was just stating the truth. This is the reality of starting an honest business from scratch and I have barely scratched the surface.
If you feel this person is you, then I’d recommend you to eliminate this thinking and prep yourself in facing more challenges as an entrepreneur. Otherwise, I’d recommend you keep your job until you are mentally and physically prepare for it.
2. You Look for Quick Results
I’ll be honest. Every millennials (myself included) fancy the idea of making quick buck. We mistook the idea of internet available everywhere enables us to reap results fast – along came Mr Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Systrom’s & Kriger’s Instagram which were considered as an ‘overnight’ success at the time.
Ever since then, we take pride in the idea that ‘if Zuckerberg can do it, so can I’ often leads to impatient approach and taking shortcuts even if it means to lie and cheat. We also start making ridiculous short-term business objectives for the purpose of making it ‘big and quick’.
And whenever we don’t get the results we set out, we falter. We began questioning ourselves and raise doubts over the business. These are the setbacks of looking quick results or in other words, an instant success.
This particular characteristic is dangerous as I have seen quite a number of young entrepreneurs who fell for the ‘quick buck’ mentality. They went down not only at the expense of being demonised by their unpaid staff, but also at the cost of owing more money to the bank at a very young age.
3. Quick Diversification
At a certain point, entrepreneurs have always been reminded to diversify their business activities. This is true, but needs to be applied the correct way at the right time.
Diversification somewhat implies your business is growing. However, quick diversification could cost your business too. Businesses that grow rapidly could cause strain to activities that support your growth. Once a business’ growth exceeds its supporting functions, it will cause a reaction to its failure.
For example, your business grows quick till it does not give enough time and support to its departments which drives growth in the organisation. The quick and large diversification of business activities will strain them and eventually will lead to organisational failure due to lack of support and time to recover.
In short, quick diversification overloads your departments from functioning properly due to lack of support and time to recuperate.
I’d recommend you to diversify your business, but only when your business is ready to grow. Take your time, understand the market you intend to enter and; implement new principles to your business and its staff patiently.
4. You’re Connecting for Sales, not Relationship
This is somewhat related to ‘looking to get quick results’ section mentioned above. Making sales is fun and great. However, it does not guarantee customer retention and referrals.
Entrepreneurs can be very financially-driven – at least from my experience consulting. Whilst it is great to see our sales performance skyrocket, it does not ensure that next annual performance could maintain, if not better.
Many entrepreneurs tend to forget that building relationship with your customers is just as crucial. They would normally spend a lot of time and money on selling their product to customers and less on customer relationship. This could end up to confusion and dissatisfaction in the customer service department. And sometimes deceit.
The barrier between the business and customers will likely have the latter ends up not supporting due to lack of confidence and trust. You can forget about customer retention and referrals – two of the most sought after customers in business.
At the end, building relationship is just as crucial as making sales. It requires more work especially dealing with demanding customers, but the outcome of these relationships is long-term. By communicating and resolving their issues, customers will be more willing to support you and don’t mind referring peers to your business which they truly feel honest and trustworthy.
Maverick leadership is an old concept of team management which is no longer applicable in this century. Exchange of information is quick and there will always be people smarter than you. You can no longer make decisions based on your ‘hunch’ alone without any supporting evidence to back you up. You are just going to get heckled by your staff when things go wrong.
In this modern era, even the slightest mistake will have you ruined. One man or woman can’t run the organisation alone. You need to be good at management, delegation, teamwork and inclusive decision-making process.
A true leader sees leadership as a responsibility, not a privilege in which anything can be done as pleased without reasoning. You need to listen, have open discussions and accepting criticisms.
The more you listen, the better your decisions will be having to consider wealth of information from bottom-top of your organisation.
Having said that, also learn to accept the amount of information gathered is enough and not more is needed – which purpose is to prevent information overload.
6. Final Two Cent
While all these weaknesses or misconceptions sound easy to deal with, doing it practically is far more difficult. Aspiring entrepreneurs have the tendency to ‘make it big quick’. I guess everyone does. This is where your long term business plan is crucial. Stick to it. You have done the homework, now is the time you learn to trust it.